FilmMakers.com / The Radmin Company 2004 Screenwriting Competition

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Richard Severy
Third Place
 
Winner
Richard Severy
of Provo,
UT
Screenplay
DIRTY GIRLS
Comedy
Biography:

Richard Severy - Raised in the UK on the Goon Show, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers etc. Law degree, Bristol University. Discovered Beckett, Pinter, Bunuel, Ray, Bergman, and then Dennis Potter and Mike Leigh. Tried to write novel. Failed. Got married. Became attorney. Had 3 beautiful daughters. Dropped out. Tried to write novel. Failed. Divorced. Became attorney again. Met present wife, American Pop Artist, Jann Haworth. Inherited 2 more beautiful daughters. Dropped out again. Tried to write novel again. Failed(again). Became teacher. Had beautiful son. Wrote kidsí book. Did self-sufficiency thing on small farm in Somerset. Wrote 8 more kidsí books ( published by Julia MacCrae, Methuen and Collins) Came to Sundance, Utah. Taught writing at local State College. Wrote several adult novels. Couldnít get them published. Mislaid agent. Went to Sundance Film Festival every year. Got inspired by independent films and Sundance Institute Lab events. Did 2 day seminar on screen-writing with Dan Decker. Bought expensive Movie Magic Screen-writer program. Wrote Dirty Girls. Entered it in Filmmakers/Radmin Screen-writing ContestÖ

Interview

I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter........

When I got an advance of less than $1000 on a novel it took a year to write! 

I know I've succeeded........ 

When I make myself laugh.

My inspiration to write DIRTY GIRLS.......

Came from various slights and humiliations endured by female members of my family at the hands of garage mechanics. 

 

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FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Richard Severy: I was inspired to write by a love of great literature and movies.

FilmMakers Magazine: What did you do to prepare yourself to write your first script?

Richard Severy: I prepared myself for writing Dirty Girls by researching the subject thoroughly, including talking at length with female mechanics. The technical stuff was a real pain. I hate car engines and refuse to understand how they work.  

FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script and how long did it take you to complete?

Richard Severy: This is indeed my first script. It took about 2 months to write as I go through at least 6 drafts. 

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?

Richard Severy:
I usually write by hand on the window seat in the corner of our kitchen listening to Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis. 

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are important for aspiring screenwriters and why?

Richard Severy: I now very much believe in the importance of screenplay contests! 

FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the FilmMakers.com / The Radmin Company Screenwriting Competition?

Richard Severy: I entered this contest because independent film is where itís at. 

FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?

Richard Severy: Any thing by Billy Wilder. I like the kind of witty adult comedies that he wrote. My wifeís father, Ted Haworth, did the Production design on Some Like it Hot. (He won an Oscar for Sayonara and did many other classics like Longest Day, Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, Strangers On a Train etc.)  

FilmMakers Magazine: Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?

Richard Severy: Besides screenwriting I am passionate about: 
Cooking, because I like to eat good food (curries a specialty) 
Wilderness, because there isnít any in England. We live on the mountain above Sundance on the edge of one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the country and Iíll never get used to it. 
The poetry of Philip Larkin, because he is the greatest poet of the 20th Century. 
The music of Steely Dan, Tom Waits, Steve Earle, Artie Shaw, Lester Young etc etc. 
Family, because itís what really counts.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Richard Severy: The Coen brothers are my favorite screenwriters, because they combine humour with surrealism and great narrative. 

FilmMakers Magazine: Name the director you would love to work with and why?

Richard Severy:
I would love to work with Jon Amiel. I heard him speak at Sundance about his direction of The Singing Detective, which has to be the finest BBC TV drama ever made. Also, The Spy Who Knew Too Little is my idea of a very funny film.  

FilmMakers Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and why?

Richard Severy: I would like to work with Benicio Del Toro, because I want to see him dressed as a woman in Dirty Girls. 

FilmMakers Magazine: Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?

Richard Severy:
Tips for writers: Always hand-write your drafts on 17 by 11 sheets of plain unlined Strathmore Spiral-bound Drawing Paper. And believe in yourself. Really try to believe in yourself. 

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Richard Severy: More screenplays. Iíve just finished an adaptation of one of my novels, and plan on starting another shortly.

FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from now?

Richard Severy:
I hope that in 5 years Iíll still be scribbling away in the corner of the kitchen. 

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